Meet Jen! founder & owner

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...jen o'connor's...Artful Adventures & Daily Inspirations

I Love Art, Adore the Handmade and Treasure the Vintage. I am the Fun Mom, the Silly Friend and the Writer who wants to make more room for beauty in the everyday.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last Call 2007



...It's the last call on 2007...




As we prepare to ring in 2008, we want to send one final reminder that tomorrow, Debbee will retire 63 of her signature designs.
...sigh...





This is an unprecedented decision to say good bye to so many pieces.
Among them are some of my all time favorites…The Party Girl, Trick or Treat Uncle Sam, Raggedy Angel, Christmas Doll, Party Cat, Goofy Bunny and Goofy Duck, Rootie Tootie Veggie Man, Sugar Plum Fairy, Beloved Bunnies, Peachy Keen, and so many more…


See the site for details on these...and congrats to Debbee on this brave move to say goodbye to so many pieces. We know it will give her room for new designs in 2008.




And...watch for news of Debbee's appearance in Warwick at the Gallery at the Country Life on February 2nd and her special "Tea" for 25 collectors at Charlotte's Tea Room where attendees will receive a special favor and a chance to visit with Debbee...

Happy New Year to all...

xxoo Jen

Earth Angels

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Keeping Christmas




















To keep Christmas, I'll wager you must make it your own through kindness of spirit. I find this peace in the traditions we follow each season.


In a recent New York Times article, Op-Ed columnist Maureen Dowd wrote about her memories of the holiday and this lesson she learned from her mother. She wrote, "…the lesson was lovely: that materialism and narcissism can only smother life — and Christmas — if you let them."


Ms. Dowd went on to mention Caroline Kennedy and a piece reprinted in her Christmas anthology.... Henry van Dyke writes: “Are you willing ... to own, that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness ... to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings ...? Then you can keep Christmas."

I agree that this gift of grace is one you must find for yourself and hold tightly in the fray.




We keep Christmas and good cheer with a decades old tradition. Since the 197os the O'Connor family has begun the 12 days of Christmas in song and celebration in downtown Warwick...
Here we are on our way to the annual "Community Sing" hosted each Christmas Eve at 5pm. We gather... family, friends and some folks we only recognize from this annual event...
(do you recognize the building previous posts and the Village's Halloween Parade...





The brothers Metzger and O'Connor wait in the chill...





















...here's our view of the gathering crowds below...we sit in the upstairs loft on the right...just as my husband has done since he was a boy.










Darkness has fallen and with it a hush ...
..here Susie asks us to join her in song from the pulpit...most years she forgets the words... but we cheer her on and love every minute in her gentle demeanor...
And so I ask you, please keep Christmas close. And enjoy your traditions, the old and the new, they are the gift of the season.
xxoo Jen

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shopping Handmade
















...this is an overdue post about a little jaunt I made up to New Paltz to see pals Kitty B and Patti G! These talented artists were showing their work at the Unison Fair held at the beginning of December at the New Paltz Middle School…and my big chance to get some Christmas shopping done!
I am making a real effort to give all handmade things this year, and if not handmade (some small people around here are wishing for toys)
…then, Made in America or vintage/repurposed or recycyled!
I came home with a car load of new treasures from Kitty B (Michelle will be emailing images later this week and watch the site for updates!) And more than 100 gifts made in the Hudson River Valley.
(Thea...watch the mail for a Zippy Gift for Zippy Gal!)









Here are a few images of Kitty B's booth at the show...
Most of you know Kitty B as the mistress of assemblage, carefully curating her odd boxes of whimsy by freezing bits of everyday life for inspection. In her art, Kitty elevates castoff tools, misfit toys and broken tidbits in her celebration of whimsy, selecting and then surrounding them in their own little world of paper and glitter, whimsy and mirth.
I have – many times – confessed a passion for Kitty’s work. It strikes a chord deep in me for the loves of the worn, the underdog and the forgotten… it makes me comfortable…and at the same time unsettles me just a little bit…titillating. Her collaged tags are part of the fun and it’s a pity we cannot photo these for the site too…they have to be experienced when one of her boxes is held in your hands.

(I did a blog post about Kitty back in July…see the archives if you have two minutes. Some of my favorites she has ever done are pictured there…)








I also got to visit a bit with the lovely and talented Patti Gibbons…
You can learn more about her and her mixed media works and works in paper through her blog:

http://catskillpaper.blogspot.com/

Patti is one of the people on the planet I hope I get to know better. I commissioned her last year to make 100 ornaments for me to send out as gifts…did you receive one as a surprise in the mail from me?

I think Patti’s is just wonderfully fun and she could work as a super-model if her career in the arts ever allowed her the time! And to think, it was Patti who introduced me to the land of the Blog…thanks Patti for opening the world….hope you can make it down for “the heART of winter”…






…here’s a wee tree laden with Patti’s "Catskill Paper" magic…








I do love art and I am sharing it with as many people on my list as I can...my in-laws will receive a Jennifer Lanne painting of a running rooster, my twin nieces some wonderful collages made by pal Amy, I just packed up some fun Hotcakes bracelets for a few gal pals on my list...
I like giving old things too...so whew (readers of this blog will recall) I just unearthed that bargain of a chintz cup I found for my sister while antiquuing with Stacey Bear this summer...)
…so I am back to wrapping and more wrapping…with 24 nieces and nephews and a platoon of immediate family members to spoil over the holidays I feel like an elf. I must return to my dining room table which is under siege with paper, tape and...where are those scissors!
xxoo Merry Merry
Jen O’Connor
Earth Angels

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dinos Get the Guest Room Ready



Well, I am supposed to be looking at old dino bones today, or dioramas or the giant whale that hovers over the masses.... We planned to go to the Museum of Natural History today (to my kids, the "Night at the Museum- Museum")...we've been planning for months, we printed the floorplan from the web, we discussed footware options...but instead I am looking out the window...we are snowed in..AGAIN!

So we lit a fire and played board games...and began to chat about our plans for the holidays. Where we are going... and when, who's coming here... and when...the kids wrote letters to the Nroth Pole...and then...
we started to get itchy for a "project"...




A few hours into the day we decided to get our spare room ready for the holiday guests that will be here as soon as Santa...

So thanks to the snow and our cancelled dino excursion, the guest room is underway!!!! (Charlotte's former bedroom) Also called Michelle's Room, Ro's Room, Lisa's Room, Laurie's Room, Jennifer's Room, Jack's Room, ...and all my other gal pals and relative who visit...some will be coming over the holidays so we are working to get this room ready for them!
Here are some before pictures...and some shots of my gathered treasures for texture and inspiration...I am thinking of using gobs of browns with black and white...and is there room for red??? Maybe some gathered shells and rocks, with my brown and white transfer ware....we'll see how it turns out...
I won't be buying any furniture just yet, just moving some things around and cruising the basement for some re-purposed oddities...I am thinking of giving up the desk in my bedroom...I never use it...and using it in the new guest room...and just maybe that old basket in the attic will make a good end table....lamps are not an issue (previously confessed obsession with lamps re-stated here)...









The "after" will follow soon...I have recruited my Dad to paint perhaps as soon as tomorrow...and Micah will put the floor down on Saturday (gotta love that laminate and a handy man).









And you are so right...YES, I should finish wrapping those Christmas gifts, I should be...I should be...but, we have been hoping for a well-appointed guest room for some time...we have so many fabulous friends that come to visit and the "aero-bed" is fine, but it's just not the same and as a private room with a stack of fresh towels, a desk with some nice stationery and a carafe for water...

So the shopping and wrapping and cleaning will just have to wait a bit. Sharing the season with friends in our home is on the agenda!

Hope you are all well and enjoying the spirit of the season.
More soon... and Merry, merry!
xxoo Jen

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tree Parade





























The Tree Parade has arrived!
Each year, as soon as the Halloween costumes are tucked away...we launch the official tree planning committee (that’s me and my kids). We discuss, at length, and usually over pancakes or our afternoon tea, what will be "this year's tees". The kids love it...ridiculous ideas abound..."Oh, Mom...let's do a tree with all cow ornaments, or all orange, or all cars...and so on..."

Last year we did 12 trees (the record is 15)...this year there are 9 so far, but we still need to get the "real tree"...that’s the live evergreen under which Santa tucks his gifts...We'll glam that one up with all vintage glass ornaments and baubles... I have even found some wonderful chandelier crystal garland...

Here are some of this year’s beauties…
The front hall greets everyone with creamy whites and vintage baubles and bling… look carefully and you’ll see some of Jennifer Murphy’s beauties tucked among the branches…


Here’s the view up…















…and down the stairs…















What a surprise! Charlotte must have pink! Last year we had white lights and pink feathers and and anything "Victoriana" we could gather from the drawers and shelves....This year she's gone hog wild, Hello Kitty butterfly lights and anything pink...I was told, "Mom I can do this myself".




























And I adore my twin trees in the den…they host the kiddies’ handmade treasures and sport a few Christy Silacci Christmas cuties as well…
festively primitive and united in classic colors.

























The dining room is lush and lovely…there are my prized Julie Whitmore ornaments among the feather boughs and topping thise one, my treasured Pat Murphy angel bear (Pat does one of theses as an exclusive edition for Earth Angels each year).





































Aidan is one for tradition, so for the past few years have hosted a "Star Wars" tree in his room...sharing his collection of ornies and intergalactic toys with Rory who goes along for the ride. Maybe it’s a good thing the image didn’t turn out so well..it’s a might bit garish!
But, this is my favorite…















It’s our angel tree to remember those we have loved and lost this year. There’s a bell on the dresser and we ring it each time we pass to help those angels get their wings…













So merry merry...and find the season's peace in all the little details...




























…and here’s to the sweet spirit of the season

xxoo Jen
Earth Angels

Thursday, December 6, 2007

ANNUAL HOLIDAY SALE!
















Hi to all our Customer Friends and BlogLand Pals...

We are posting this news with much appreciation
for your support and enthusiasm during 2007!


EARTH ANGELS' ANNUAL HOLIDAY SALE
DECEMBER 7th – DECEMBER 11th

As a friend and fan of Earth Angels' artists,
you are invited to choose
ANY ONE CREATION on our

...yes, this includes all of our folk art, soft sculpture, dolls,
bears, goodies, pottery and paintings...

What a fabulous chance to pick a special treat, add something wonderful to your home, your collection, or choose a gift for someone special on your list.

To take advantage of this sale, please call me from 8am-8pm NY time ONLY at (845) 986-8720 or feel free to email your order beginning at 12:01 am on December 7th. Orders will be filled in the order they are received...

We suggest you have a second, or event third choice in mind, in case your first choice is already sold. Art gets gobbled up quickly during this sale...

Thanks to our artists for this wonderful opportunity to share their works and we hope you enjoy the treat. You and your support are much appreciated!

xxoo Jen O’Connor

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Home Tour...Holiday Harvest

































I am inviting you on my tour of Jennifer Lanne's farmhouse...I've just signed the guest book...I am the first name on the page for her 2007 "Holiday Harvest" Open House and Studio Tour...

The Lanne homestead is wonderfully overwhelming with glorious displays...there are evergreens everywhere, sparkling lights festoon the nooks and chandeliers are hung with a bevy of sparkly baubles....as Jennifer calls it, it's "pasture posh".

Welcome to their home, where Christmas is shared around the 1762 hearth much the same as ever it was...with good cheer and room enough for friends to gather in your heart, around your table and by your side during the merriest of seasons.






























Here's Erica...Jennifer's friend and my wonderful pal for the evening...we helped shoppers in the studio where gobs of Jennifer's wonderful art was on display.























Jennifer has her own way with colors and textures, weaving layered magic with her old treasures, snips of nature, toys, folk art and antique china...














Jennifer loves old farm animal toys ...this was last year's Christmas gift from her fab and thoughtful hubby...










Jennifer and Dick adore Laurie Meseroll's "Mud-Cakes"...their collection is growing...this "Skaters" piece is their new favorite.... I love the angel hanging next to their couch (see image above).














...visions of sugared plums!














...here's hoping some of you can join the fun at the Lanne home and Jennifer's studio next year...
Until then ...merry, merry and enjoy this magic time of year.
xxoo Jen
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